La Cenerentola – Forgiveness and the Power of Our Word

Suzanne and I are fans of the Metropolitan Opera Live in HD.  It’s a remarkable thing – live, high-definition transmissions of operas from the Met, as they are happening, to movie theaters throughout the country and in 54 countries worldwide.  You’re sitting in your local movie house watching a world-class performance, and the mere act of doing so binds you by a simultaneous experience to people around the world.

A few years ago, we enjoyed a brilliant performance of La Cenerentola  as part of the Met Live in HD series.  La Cenerentola is Gioachino Rossini and librettist Jacopo Feretti’s telling of the Cinderella story.  I am happy to note that another live performance of this opera will be shown as part of the Met Live in HD series on May 10, 2014.  (Cinderella seems popular these days.  The Rodgers and Hammerstein musical of Cinderella – originally written for TV in 1957 – is currently enjoying a successful run on Broadway.)

The metaphysics in this opera amazed me.  We open with Cinderella working and singing a song about a king who had to choose a wife and had three choices.  He chooses the poor girl, the lowest of the three.  (Of course, this turns out to be her own story.)  She sings this at the opening and again near the beginning of the second act.  Is anyone noticing Cinderella’s affirmation here?  She’s affirming the choice of the poor servant girl by the Prince, which ultimately is just what happens to her. This is the power of our word.

Towards the end, Rossini and Feretti turn it into a story of forgiveness.  When the sisters and the stepfather (a Baron) are moaning and whining about the Prince’s choice of Cinderella over either of the sisters to be his wife, he threatens to hurt them for insulting her and for other things.  She intervenes, saying that, if he truly loves her, he will show mercy toward her family.  She has a lovely aria about all that has happened to her and how it has, in that moment, disappeared from her life and she says that “My revenge will be…my revenge is…to forgive them.”  Wow, the power of love, release, and forgiveness.  And she triumphantly becomes a Princess.  Her kindness and forgiveness show her worthiness to marry the Prince (and step into the riches of the Kingdom).

For those intrigued, you can find out more at  If you can spare the time to go see it, you might enjoy the gorgeous music and you will find it a wonderful (and beautiful) metaphysical experience.

Tim Phares, RScP